History Dish Mondays: Rusks

I had a packet of yeast leftover from when I made ginger beer, so I decided to mix up a batch of Rusks.
Rusks were a favorite when I worked at a living history museum. In the morning, toasted on the cast iron stove, they could not be beat. I would describe this recipe as “advanced,” especially if you don’t have much experience with yeasty breads.
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Rusks
Original recipe from American Cookery by Amelia Simmons
Modern Recipe from The Old Sturbridge Village Cookbook

1/4 pound butter
1 cup milk
7 eggs
6 tablespoons sugar
1 package yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
6-7 cups flour

I halved this recipe.
1. Melt butter and combine with milk.
2. Beat eggs until light; add sugar, yeast and eggs to milk and butter mixture.
3. Stir in 3 cups of flour and beat for 2-3 minutes. Cover the bowl and set in a warm place for an hour or more, or refrigerate overnight.
After the dough has finished rising, add the remaining flour, enough so that the dough is no longer sticky. At this point, you’re supposed to take it out, roll it into 2 logs and cut it into 12 slices. But this is what mine looked like:
Shrug. I heated up some butter in a skillet. I rubbed my hands with some flour, and tour off a slice of the dough. I dabbed it into a little more flour, and patted it between my hand until it vaguely resembled the shape of an English muffin. I tossed it in the hot skillet. Repeat until the skillet is filled.
When it gets crusty and brown, flip it, and push it down with you spatula. You want to make sure it get cooked all the way through! Watch them close–my first batch was a burned disaster. My next two tries came out acceptable.
While these turned out pretty good, they were not as tasty as when my mom makes them. They seemed a little dense, but the bread is sweet and yeasty. I think they’re better the next day, toasted and spread with butter and jam. Or try it as a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich!
Rating B+
I think my technique needs some work.

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